It’s an intense environment and while some people are able to handle it solo (when everyone around you is with a friend or partner), it’s highly unlikely that you are one of those select few.
It's primarily an extreme camping trip — they need to be resourceful, fun to be around even when hot, dirty, sleep-deprived, etc.
If you have friends who don't meet this criteria, that's fine! Plan on meeting up at the event, just don't camp with them.
You will definitely want to sleep past sunrise, but the heat will get you very quickly. There are plenty of further optimizations, but this is the place to start.
At the very least, figure out where the sun is going to rise and place your tent in the shade of your car.
Dust storms are hard to predict and surprisingly powerful. They can whisk away anything that's not tied down and can simultaneously dump 1/4" of dust on everything in your tent. You’re going to need serious stakes (most people use rebar) and you’re going to want something to protect people from hurting themselves on those stakes or getting caught by the guy lines.
Which is a serious bummer 😕
Much of Burning Man takes place at night, in the dark.
You need to make sure you can be seen by people on bicycles or in cars to prevent collisions, but you also want your friends to be able to easily find you (when you’re traveling as a bicycle gang as well as on foot through a crowd).
But it’s also a new and excellent form of self-expression! e.g. my favorite bike wheel light, a rainbow
- 🔋🔋 bring extra batteries!
At Burning Man, the ecosystem is so delicate and there are so many people all in one place that you can’t just pop a squat on the playa — you need to go visit the porta potties or you need to have a solution for peeing in your camp. Guys usually have a jug (I recommend a detergent bottle for camp and I’ve saved the day with a more portable Gatorade bottle while in-place with my friends waiting for the man to burn), but women need a little more planning to manage the same level of stress-free hydration.
- I think the pStyle is a great place to start. Cheap, small, easy to pack, easy to wipe clean, etc. They call these devices “pee funnels” but I think it’s better to think of them as “pee redirectors” — much easier to use than a funnel would be and much easier to clean.
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- The Tinkle Belle is more expensive and has softer contact points and a longer reach. But is more likely to attract lint and is a little more cumbersome to deal with since you’re meant to fold the chute under, but it also comes with a zippered carrying case and is less likely to crack if mistreated.
The Tinkle Belle Female Urination Device | Portable Urinal with Case! Stand to Pee While Staying Fully Clothed! Easy, Compact, Reliable for Hiking/Camping/Travel/Concerts/Festivals/Dirty Toilets
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More tips on nighttime peeing:
- practice before you go, potentially in the shower).
- if you have the equipment, naturally or otherwise, I recommend peeing into a laundry detergent container — no one will confuse it for water, it has a nice handle for carrying to the portas, a tight-fitting lid, and even a gauge on the side to remind you to dump it. I’ve heard of some people cutting off the narrow pour-spout, but I’m not sure how much that actually opens things up.
- even if you get good at using your funnel, bring a wide-mouth container with a tight-fitting lid that’s easy to squat on, for times when you’re completely exhausted and can’t be bothered — e.g. the mixed nuts containers from Costco.
- keep in mind that your tent-mate might envy your setup, so maybe try to get them to either plan for themselves or commit to ensuring that your containers are always sufficiently empty that you won’t be dissuaded from using them.
- A very small amount of RV septic treatment will help prevent your pee bottle from getting gross, even if you don’t dump it daily. I’d approach this option with caution - the chemicals seem corrosive.
I use Scott's softer septic-safe single-ply option, now called “Comfort Plus”
I roll them up while in the Gate line on the way in and then keep my little TP ziplocks in my bag and give them as playa gifts (they’re also handy to have in normal life, so I keep one in my glovebox or in the
Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container
Just the right weight for being able to move it around while still handling a lot of water. If you’re planning on leaving it on its side with the spigot out, be sure to wrap it well with plumber’s tape to prevent dripping. (But it’s pretty easy to just heft it upright between uses.)
(usually cheapest at Walmart)
When riding your bike, keep your bike lock “locked” in order to minimize the amount of dust that ends up in the mechanism.
You’re going to be locking and unlocking your bike all day every day (and night) and it might be a little annoying to always latch your lock before riding away, but your future self will thank you.
In general you should be thinking of ways of making you and your friends visible at night in order to prevent accidents and in order to find each other. This one just sparks a lot of joy and makes me wish I rode a bike at night in my normal life so I’d have reason to use it more.
There are all different kinds, and you can probably find something that's more "you" but I point them out because they're a way to get sparkles without generating MOOP like with glitter or sequins. (And remember that you can always cut them up to do something more custom.)
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Rock Star Librarian
2022 RSL Music Guide, download it Tuesday, Aug 23rd, time TBA - it will be posted here! Deadline to submit to the 2022 Music Guide Friday, August 12th 9pm PT Shake and groove to bass beats here, 365 days a year, and tantalize your aural pleasures with regional and global sounds and sets burning year round.
It’s actually one of my favorite fb groups, year-round, but it’s about half bullshit and half helpfulness.
Burning Man Survival Guide 2022
BLACK ROCK CITY is a temporary metropolis built in Nevada's beautiful, remote, and inhospitable Black Rock Desert. You are responsible for your own survival, safety, comfort, and well-being, and for Leaving No Trace. This Survival Guide will help you thrive at Burning Man.
In the Aftermath
Being in a clean air conditioned space is great. The casino/resort is non-smoking. They have a great pool area. The luxuriousness of the experience is really satisfying after a week of roughing it in the desert.
If you want to relax, you basically always have to stay at a hotel for at least two nights. It sort of ruins things if you know you have to wake up in the morning and pack up and check out by 11am or whatever. You’ll want to sleep in as late as possible and then order room service breakfast and take a nice bath in the spa tub.
The Tuscany Tower used to be the nicest part of the hotel to book.
Costco has historically had Peppermill deals if you are a member and book through them.
It’s a free festival that takes place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning from ~4:30-8:30am the weekend after Labor Day, and is one of the best Reno events. Plan on parking many blocks away and hoofing in on foot, carrying a picnic blanket or camp chairs to settle in for the couple hours of spectacle.
Remember that it will get cooler until dawn, so bring layers—most people will have hats and blankets or jackets. But also plan on being mobile with your gear so you can wander around the balloons when they all lay out in the field to launch at 7am (which I think is the best part).
Very family friendly, but leave your dogs at home if you want to wander around the field with the balloons (which you definitely do).
Traffic is crazy near the event. Whether you’re parking or ordering a car, try to stick to bigger thoroughfares like Keystone. Though the ride-share drop off on Washington might be tolerable.
It’s the best way to clean off a lot of your gear that can’t go in the washing machine.
Try to beat as much dust out of your clothes as you can before they go in. And I’d try a pre-soak and an extra rinse.
You will almost instantly lose motivation and you’ll find yourself a year later trying to figure out what needs batteries and what needs washing, etc.
Make sure they use their air blowers to try to remove all the dust from under your cars hood—the dust is corrosive.